Guilt-Free Treat: How to Make Candied Orange Peel Without Sugar Using Natural Sweeteners

If you’re looking for a sweet treat without the guilt, candied orange peel without sugar might just be your new favorite snack. Traditional recipes often rely on copious amounts of sugar, but it’s entirely possible to create a delicious, healthier version.

In this article, I’ll guide you through a simple process that uses natural sweeteners to achieve that perfect balance of sweetness and zest. Whether you’re aiming to cut down on sugar or just curious about a different approach, this method will satisfy your cravings without compromising on flavor.

Key Takeaways

  • Sugar-Free Sweeteners: Candied orange peel can be made without traditional sugar by using natural sweeteners like erythritol, stevia, date syrup, or coconut sugar to maintain sweetness and texture.
  • Nutritional Benefits: Sugar-free candied orange peel is a healthier alternative, offering high levels of vitamin C, fiber, and low impact on blood sugar levels, making it suitable for those managing diabetes or metabolic conditions.
  • Versatile for Various Diets: This treat accommodates various dietary needs, including ketogenic, vegan, gluten-free, and paleo diets, thanks to the natural sweeteners used in the recipe.
  • Simple Preparation: The process involves selecting thick-peel organic oranges, blanching to remove bitterness, and simmering in a naturally sweetened syrup, resulting in a delightful yet healthy snack.

Understanding Candied Orange Peel

What Is Candied Orange Peel?

Candied orange peel consists of orange peel pieces cooked in a sweetener until they become tender and sweet. Originating from traditional confectionery, this treat typically uses sugar to preserve and enhance the citrus flavor. The process involves boiling the peels to remove bitterness, then simmering them in a sweet syrup, which allows them to absorb the sweetness while retaining their zest.

The Role of Sugar in Traditional Recipes

Sugar plays a dual role in traditional candied orange peel recipes. First, it acts as a preservative, ensuring a longer shelf life by inhibiting microbial growth. Secondly, sugar provides a crisp texture to the peel once it cools and crystallizes. However, given the desire to reduce sugar intake, exploring alternatives to sugar while maintaining taste and texture becomes crucial. Using natural sweeteners like honey or stevia can offer a healthier option without compromising on flavor.

Sugar-Free Alternatives for Candying

Using Sugar Substitutes

Opting for sugar substitutes allows retention of sweetness without using traditional sugar. Erythritol, a popular option, provides sweetness with zero calories and a glycemic index of zero. This sweetener, derived from fruits and vegetables, crystallizes well, making it suitable for candying orange peel. To use erythritol, a 1:1 ratio can be substituted for sugar in most candying recipes.

Stevia, another sugar substitute, boasts a glycemic index of zero. Derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant, it’s considerably sweeter than sugar. Stevia can be used sparingly; a typical conversion is 1 teaspoon of stevia for every cup of sugar. Monitor the consistency closely since stevia can affect the texture differently than sugar.

Natural Sweetness from Fruits

Utilizing fruit-derived sweetness provides a natural alternative. Dates, for example, offer a rich, caramel-like sweetness. A date syrup can be made by blending dates with water, producing a thick, sweet liquid. Use date syrup in a 1:1 ratio as a sugar substitute in candying recipes.

Coconut sugar, derived from coconut palm sap, offers a lower glycemic index than regular sugar. It has a slight caramel flavor, which can enhance the taste of candied orange peel. Substitute coconut sugar in equal amounts for sugar in recipes to maintain a similar texture and sweetness.

Incorporating these sugar-free alternatives ensures a delicious outcome while minimizing sugar intake.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Candied Orange Peel Without Sugar

Choosing the Right Oranges

Select fresh, organic oranges. Organic oranges avoid pesticides and waxes that affect flavor and texture. Choose oranges with thick peels since they hold up better during candying.

Preparing the Oranges

Wash the oranges thoroughly. Use a vegetable brush to scrub off any residues. Cut off the ends of each orange and score the peel into quarters. Gently remove the peel, avoiding the white pith as much as possible. Cut the peel into uniform strips around 1/4 inch wide.

Cooking Techniques

Blanch the orange peels to remove bitterness. Boil the peels in water for 5 minutes, then drain and repeat two more times with fresh water. Prepare a natural sweetener syrup by dissolving erythritol (or another natural sweetener) in water over medium heat. Add the orange peels and simmer for about 40 minutes until the peels turn translucent. Remove the peels and place them on a wire rack to dry completely.

By following these steps, you get candied orange peel without using sugar while maintaining sweetness and texture.

Health Benefits of Sugar-Free Candied Orange Peel

Nutritional Advantages

Sugar-free candied orange peel offers several nutritional benefits. By eliminating traditional sugar, you reduce calorie intake significantly. This treat retains high levels of vitamin C, which bolsters the immune system and promotes healthy skin. Natural sweeteners like stevia and erythritol, often used in sugar-free recipes, have minimal or no impact on blood sugar levels. This makes them ideal for those managing diabetes or metabolic conditions. Additionally, orange peels contain fiber, which aids digestion and supports gut health.

Suitable for Various Diets

This sugar-free treat fits seamlessly into various dietary plans. Those on ketogenic diets benefit from the low-carb nature of natural sweeteners like erythritol. Vegans can enjoy sugar-free candied orange peel made with date syrup or coconut sugar. This recipe also suits individuals following gluten-free and paleo diets. By using natural sweeteners instead of sugar, the candied orange peel becomes a versatile option for people with dietary restrictions or preferences.


Making candied orange peel without sugar is a fantastic way to enjoy a sweet treat without the guilt. By using natural sweeteners like erythritol, stevia, dates, and coconut sugar, we can create a healthier version that still delivers on flavor and texture. Plus, the nutritional benefits of vitamin C and fiber make it a great addition to various diets. So next time you’re craving something sweet, try making your own sugar-free candied orange peel and enjoy a delicious, guilt-free snack.

Creating candied orange peel without sugar is a simple and delicious way to enjoy a guilt-free treat by substituting sugar with natural sweeteners like honey or stevia. This method not only retains the citrusy flavor of the orange peel but also enhances it, providing a healthier alternative to traditional candied fruits. By using natural sweeteners, you can enjoy this tasty treat without worrying about the health implications of refined sugar.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is candied orange peel?

Candied orange peel is a sweet treat made by boiling orange peels in syrup until they become tender and translucent. This process preserves the peels and enhances their flavor.

How can I make candied orange peel without sugar?

You can make candied orange peel without sugar by using natural sweeteners like erythritol, stevia, dates, or coconut sugar. These alternatives provide sweetness while minimizing sugar intake.

Are there health benefits to sugar-free candied orange peel?

Yes, sugar-free candied orange peel is rich in vitamin C and fiber. It’s also suitable for various diets like ketogenic, vegan, gluten-free, and paleo due to the use of natural sweeteners.

What sugar alternatives can be used in making sugar-free candied orange peel?

Natural sweeteners such as erythritol, stevia, dates, and coconut sugar can be used instead of traditional sugar to make healthier candied orange peel.

How does the traditional method of making candied orange peel differ?

The traditional method involves boiling orange peels in sugar syrup, which preserves the peels and gives them a chewy texture. Sugar is the primary sweetening and preserving agent in this method.

Can I use stevia to make candied orange peel?

Yes, stevia can be used as a sugar alternative to make candied orange peel. It offers sweetness without the calories and sugar content of traditional methods.

Is candied orange peel suitable for a keto diet?

Yes, when made with keto-friendly sweeteners like erythritol or stevia, sugar-free candied orange peel is suitable for a ketogenic diet.

Does candied orange peel fit into a vegan diet?

Absolutely! Using plant-based natural sweeteners like dates or coconut sugar makes sugar-free candied orange peel a vegan-friendly treat.

Can people with gluten intolerance enjoy sugar-free candied orange peel?

Yes, sugar-free candied orange peel made with natural sweeteners is gluten-free and safe for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

Is making candied orange peel complicated?

While traditional methods might seem complex, making candied orange peel, especially without sugar, can be straightforward with the right ingredients and recipe.